Larry Everhart is Tool Designer and Developer at the NORMA Group site in Auburn Hills.
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The Tool Designer and his Love for the Harmonica

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Larry Everhart has been with NORMA Group for 28 years, following time at Breeze and before that Torca. He began as Tool Room Supervisor, and today is Tool Designer and Developer at the NORMA Group site in Auburn Hills.

He designs special tools for metalworking by sketching designs, developing 3D computer models, processing components and monitoring their assembly. The tools are used to fabricate components for metal clamps and also to assemble the clamps.

The 59-year-old’s evenings, however, are devoted to his passion: the harmonica.

How long have you played the harmonica?

When I was 15 years old, I just happened to walk into some harmonica players practicing at my school, Denby High School in Detroit. I still remember how the room resonated. I went right out and bought my own harmonica. I purchased some blues and rock records and started practicing.

What musical genres do you play?

The harmonica is a pretty versatile instrument. I play blues harps: diatonic harmonicas which have ten holes. I play mostly rockabilly, rhythm and blues and country but also enjoy jazz, Irish folk and rock. I like a lot of musical genres, but my passion is the instrument itself. [laughs]

What fascinates you about this instrument?

I love the diversity of sounds and melodies it can produce. A blues harp can sound very smooth and mellow, you can play mournful, bluesy songs, or you can make it sound percussive and let the tempo speed up – or play the melody clear and simple.

How do you learn new pieces?

I play by ear, not by notes. When I want to learn something new, I listen closely to the music for several hours. After all, only one thing really lets you get the melodies right: practice, practice, practice. I’m still a student of the harmonica, even after more than 40 years.

Where can we hear you live?

I’m a member of two bands in the Detroit area: Maggie’s Farm is an acoustic blues duo and The Hackwells offer up rockabilly and americana. This keeps me busy with two performances a month, a few more in the summer, plus a few studio recordings with local musicians. I especially like playing with my daughter Evelyn, who’s a wonderful singer-songwriter.

Work, family, performances – isn’t it a bit much?

No, it’s no strain at all, because music is my second passion – with my wife of 36 years being my first.